Court Considers Jurisdiction in Context of Online Sales

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Dish v. Shava, 2018 ONSC 2867 (CanLII), plaintiffs obtained judgment in Virginia, including an injunction, against the defendants, who were located in Ontario.  The plaintiffs then brought an action in Ontario seeking recognition and enforcement of the Virginia judgment and injunction in Ontario. On the motion for summary judgment, the Ontario Court considered whether the Virginia Court had exercised jurisdiction based on the Ontario test for jurisdiction: i.e. whether the defendants had a real and substantial connection with Virginia. The defendants owned and operated an interactive, commercial website through which users purchased TV set-top boxes.  The Ontario Court found that the defendants had a real substantial connection to Virginia based on the nature of the business they were operating, specifically: users in Virginia purchased the TV set-top boxes from the defendants’ website.  At least 193 customers with a Virginia shipping address purchased Shava TV product from the Defendants’ distributor … Read More

Ontario Securities Commission Clarifies Test for Severance Motions

Peter Neufeld, B. Soc. Sc., J.D.Administrative Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation, Tribunals0 Comments

In Hutchinson (Re), 2018 ONSEC 40 (“Hutchinson”), the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) considered the proper framework to assess a motion for severance in the context of a regulatory proceeding before the OSC. OSC Staff alleged that the respondent, David Paul George Sidders (“Sidders”), engaged in insider trading with respect to three transactions. The OSC also alleged that three other individual respondents, one of which settled, engaged in insider trading and/or insider tipping. Respondent Sidders moved before an OSC Commissioner (“Commissioner”) to request that it sever his hearing from the hearings of the other remaining respondents. The question before the Commissioner was how to assess, in the context of an OSC proceeding, whether the interests of justice require severance. The Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Last, 2009 SCC 45 (“Last”) listed several factors to consider when balancing the risk of prejudice to the accused with the public interest in … Read More

When is Oral Evidence Required to Resolve Credibility Issues in Summary Judgment Motions?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2212886 Ontario Inc. v. Obsidian Group Inc., 2018 ONCA 670, involved the appeal of a partial summary judgment decision in a dispute between the franchisor and a franchisee of Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill.  In this case, the franchisee operated a Crabby Joe’s franchise for a year and a half prior to serving a notice of rescission of the franchise agreement on the franchisor. Claims The franchisee claimed that the disclosure document provided was materially deficient and it was entitled to rescind the franchise agreement within two years of execution of the franchise agreement under section 6(2) of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (“the Act”).   The franchisee claimed for rescission damages under section 6(6) of the Act and also damages for breach of contract and breach of the fair dealing obligations under the Act.  In response, the franchisor brought a counterclaim for a declaration that the franchise agreement was validly terminated and a … Read More

Court Grants Interim, Interim Injunction Without Specific Evidence of Harm

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Brand Protection, Breach of Confidentiality Agreement, Breach of Confidentiality Clause, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, Contract Disputes, Employment, Injunction & Specific Performance, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause0 Comments

In Knowmadics v. Cinnamon, 2018 ONSC 4451 (CanLII) the plaintiff company sought an urgent interim, interim injunction regarding an app sold by the defendants pending the hearing of a motion for an interlocutory injunction. The plaintiff sold specialized computer software.  The individual defendant was employed by the plaintiff and signed an employment agreement, including a confidentiality and non-competition clause.  The defendant also had a business, the corporate co-defendant, which did subcontracting work for the plaintiff after the defendant resigned from employment with the plaintiff.  The corporate defendant signed a non-disclosure agreement with the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants were selling certain software that directly competed with the plaintiff’s software and infringed the plaintiff’s copyrights.  The plaintiffs commenced an action against the defendants. After commencing the action, the plaintiff alleged that they learned that the defendants were also selling a certain app over which the plaintiffs asserted ownership.  The … Read More

Entire Agreement Clause Upheld in Manorgate Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Construction | Builders, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Entire Agreement Clauses are meant to prevent negotiations that occurred prior to the contract being formed from influencing the Court’s interpretation of the terms set out in the final contract. In other words, past discussions are to have no bearing on the understanding of the contractual terms. In theory, a fully integrated agreement of this kind supplants any earlier oral or written agreements. There is competing jurisprudence in which Entire Agreement Clauses have been both effective and ineffective. However, Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision where an Entire Agreement Clause was effective. In Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the Motion Judge’s decision that the Entire Agreement Clause in the relevant agreement, regarding architectural consulting for a construction project, operated as a complete defence to the appellants’ claim of alleged negligent misrepresentation. The Entire Agreement Clause … Read More

Court Considers When a Matter is in “Public Interest” in Anti-SLAPP Motion

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Defamation, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation0 Comments

In Paramount v. Johnston, 2018 ONSC 3711 (CanLII), the Ontario Court considered whether to dismiss a defamation claim based on the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) provision of the Court of Justice Act (section 137).  We have previously blogged on the new anti-SLAPP provision: see our earlier post “Court Awards Damages to Defendant in Defamation Case”. In Paramount v. Johnston, the plaintiff company operates a number of middle-eastern restaurants.  The plaintiff company was owned by the individual plaintiffs. The plaintiff company was hosting a fundraiser organised for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.   A protest had been organised outside the restaurant to coincide with the fundraiser. The defendants alleged that they attended at the restaurant for the protest.  The defendants allegedly defamed the plaintiffs in a total of eight videos taken on the day of the protest. One of the defendants brought a motion to dismiss the claim against him based … Read More

Shareholders’ Remedies under the OBCA: An Overview (Part 2/2) 

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Oppression Remedies, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

When a shareholder’s rights are breached, there are a variety of legal remedies available under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (“OBCA”). For more information on shareholders’ rights, please click here to see part 1 of this post. Oppression Remedy It is first important to note that as per the Ontario Court of Appeal decision Maurice v. Alles, the standard two-year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act applies to oppression remedy claims. The “clock starts to run” when the oppressive conduct first began, meaning that individuals must not delay if they wish to pursue an oppression remedy. The oppression remedy under s. 248 of the OBCA is broad in nature, and there is a large amount of judicial discretion afforded in its application. The oppression remedy can be an especially strong tool in protecting minority shareholders. When the Court determines that there has been oppressive conduct, unfairly prejudicial conduct, or conduct that disregards the interests of any shareholder it may make an order to resolve the matter in a variety of ways. … Read More

Shareholders’ Rights under the OBCA: An Overview (Part 1/2) 

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (“OBCA”), shareholders of a corporation have a variety of rights. Outlined below are a few rights that all shareholders should be aware they possess. Please click here to see part 2 of this post on shareholders’ remedies. Voting Rights The board of directors, under s. 115 are ultimately responsible for managing or supervising the management of the business and affairs of a corporation. Major business decisions also involve the participation of the board of directors, though sales, leases, or exchanges of all or substantially all the property of the corporation that is not in the ordinary course of business requires the approval of shareholders (s. 184(3)). Shareholders also have voting rights that allow them to control the makeup of the board of directors (s. 119(4)), and also the ability to remove directors under s. 122(1) (though this is subject to exceptions under s. 120(f)). Shareholders have additional voting rights under … Read More

The Supreme Court of Canada On Defence Against the Tort of Conversion (Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Employee Fraud, Finance Litigation, Financial Services | Investment, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Fraudulent Schemes, Investment | Financial Services0 Comments

In Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust, Teva Canada Ltd. (“Teva”), a pharmaceutical company, “was the victim of a fraudulent cheque scheme implemented by one of its employees”, (para 1). Teva claimed the collecting banks were liable for the tort of conversion. Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust provides insight into the Bills of Exchange Act‘s (“BEA”) section 20(5) defence to the tort of conversion, by clarifying the approach used to determining whether a payee is “fictitious or non-existing”. In the event that a payee is deemed fictitious or non-existing within the meaning of section 20(5) of the BEA, the bill may be treated as payable to the bearer, and thus can be negotiated by simple “delivery” to the bank meaning endorsement is not required, and the defence will succeed (para 5). Justice Abella, writing for the majority, outlined the two-step framework a bank must satisfy to demonstrate that a payee is fictitious or … Read More

Mattresses and Slogans and Interlocutory Injunctions, Oh My! (Sleep Country Canada Inc. v. Sears Canada Inc.)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

In Sleep Country Canada Inc. v. Sears Canada Inc., Sleep Country Canada Inc. (“Sleep Country”) was granted an interlocutory injunction against Sears Canada Inc. (“Sears”) to prevent Sears from using their slogan “THERE IS NO REASON TO BUY A MATTRESS ANYWHERE ELSE” while the trade-mark infringement litigation (in which Sleep Country claims Sears’ slogan infringes on Sleep Country’s trade-marked slogan of, “WHY BUY A MATTRESS ANYWHERE ELSE”) is ongoing.   The three-part test set out in RJR-MacDonald v. Canada (Attorney General) was ultimately satisfied. The heart of the case was not on whether this was a serious issue or on the balance of convenience, but rather, on whether irreparable harm was established.   The Court found in favour of Sleep Country’s arguments that confusion, depreciation of goodwill, and loss of distinctiveness would result, as well as, a loss of sales in the minimum 18-24-month period between the time of this hearing and the determination of the … Read More

Court of Appeal Upholds Non-Solicitation Agreement

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Employment, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause0 Comments

In MD Physician Services Inc. v. Wisniewski, 2018 ONCA 440 (CanLII), the individual defendants signed a non-solicitation agreement with the plaintiff company.  The agreement provided that the individual defendants “shall not solicit during the Employee’s employment with the Employer and for the period ending two (2) years after the termination of his/her employment, regardless of how that termination should occur, within the geographic area within which s/he provided services to the Employer.” “Solicit” was defined as: “to solicit, or attempt to solicit, the business of any client, or prospective client, of the Employer who was serviced or solicited by the Employee during his/her employment with the Employee.” The individual defendants left the plaintiff to work for a competitor, the defendant company.  On their first day of work for the defendant company, the individual defendants began contacting the plaintiff’s clients. The trial judge found that the individual defendants had breached the … Read More

Gilbertson Davis LLP Enforces Liquidated Damages Clause in Settlement Agreement by Summary Judgment

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Fraudulent Schemes, Shareholder Disputes, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Haas v. Viscardi, 2018 ONSC 2883 (CanLII) the plaintiff settled a claim of $200,000 based on fraudulent misrepresentation with three defendants. The settlement agreement provided for various payments by the defendants on specified dates.  The settlement agreement required Viscardi to make payments of $30,000 in three installments. If Viscardi failed to make the payments on the dates provided, the settlement agreement provided that Viscardi would consent to judgment for $60,000 (the “Consent Judgment Clause”). Viscardi made one payment of $10,000, but failed to make the remaining two payments, in breach of the settlement agreement.  He then refused to consent to judgment. The plaintiff commenced a claim to enforce the settlement agreement, and brought a motion for summary judgment. The motion judge rejected Viscardi’s argument that the Consent Judgment Clause was an unenforceable penalty clause.  The judge considered the test for whether a liquidated damages clause is an unenforceable penalty: … Read More

Lowering the Threshold of Trademark Infringement? (United Airlines, Inc. v. Cooperstock)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

Since December 17, 1998, United Airlines has been using the website www.united.com, it’s brand name and logo has been used since August 2010, and the design and artwork of the website has stayed relatively the same since 2006 (para 4). United Airlines has a variety of trademarks associated with these services. Cooperstock operated www.untied.com and in 2011 he redesigned the graphics, in a manner similar to the design of the United Website, which was adjusted in 2012 to match changes made by United on their website in 2012 (though with a sad-face added on the United logo for example) (para 10). In United Airlines, Inc. v. Cooperstock, the Court found that Cooperstock infringed United’s trademarks. Trademark infringement occurs when “a trademark or a confusingly similar mark [is used], without the consent of the trademark rights holder, in association with wares or services” (para 29). This case provides an interesting decision regarding the specific element of infringement under … Read More

Shifting The Status of Interlocutory Injunctions: Google v. Equustek Solutions

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, eCommerce | Online Retail, Injunction & Specific Performance, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Mareva Injunction, Norwich Order, Passing Off, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

The very interconnectedness of the Internet that drives business forward through marketing and access to broader consumer bases may result in loses that currently are not easily remedied. However, jurisprudential shifts are occurring to bridge gaps in the common law that are prevalent in the new age of technology. Google v. Equustek Solutions is a recent decision that potentially expands the scope of interlocutory injunctions in order to ensure that trademark passing-off does not continue to be facilitated, even if unintentionally, by a non-party. Equustek was entitled to an interlocutory injunction to enjoin Google from displaying Datalink’s websites on any of its search results worldwide, and despite Google’s appeal, the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 7-2 decision. Justice Abella, writing for the majority, emphasized the importance of deference and discretion with regards to interlocutory injunctions, which is highly context-driven to ensure just and equitable outcomes (para 22). The Court found the three-part test in RJR – MacDonald … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Defamation Claim against Better Business Bureau

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Defamation, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation, Technology and Internet0 Comments

In Walsh Energy Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Ottawa-Hull Incorporated, 2018 ONCA 383, the Court of Appeal considered a defamation claim against the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”). The plaintiff company had failed to respond to a customer complaint using the BBB protocol, and did not resolve the complaint independently. The BBB changed changed the plaintiff’s rating on its website from “satisfactory” to “unsatisfactory”.  About a year later, the BBB adopted a new ratings system, and assigned the plaintiff a “grade” of D-. The plaintiff brought a claim against the BBB in defamation, alleging that the D- grade caused it substantial damages. On appeal, the Court of Appeal considered (1) whether the D- grade was defamatory, and (2) whether the publication was protected by the defence of fair comment. In respect of (1), the Court stated that the trial judge was wrong to only consider whether the D- grade was … Read More

McDonald’s Not Served Valid Revocation of Waiver – Commercial Leasing in the Court of Appeal

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Arbitration, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Leasing, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes0 Comments

The Court of Appeal for Ontario in North Elgin Centre Inc. v. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, 2018 ONCA 71 allowed an appeal by McDonald’s from a decision on applications by both parties to determine whether  the subject lease came to an end on a described date because McDonald’s had not complied with the renewal provision in the lease. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the decision of the application judge, that despite that the parties were in negotiations, and that the respondent had waived its right to insist on strict compliance with the  terms of the renewal provision (to refer the determination of the renewal rental rate to arbitration), that the respondent had effectively revoked its waiver and reverted to its strict legal rights, namely to terminate the lease in the absence of the referral of the dispute on renewal rental rate to arbitration within the permitted time. On the … Read More

Court Considers Deemed Place of Contracting in Jurisdiction Analysis

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Forum Challenges, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Injunction & Specific Performance, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In We Serve Health Care LP v. Onasanya, 2018 ONSC 1758, the Applicant was a franchisor of home health care service providers.. The Applicant had its head office in Ontario and regional offices in various jurisdictions, including one in Saskatchewan.  The individual Respondent entered into a Franchise Agreement with the Applicant’s predecessor company granting her a license to operate a franchise in Saskatchewan.. She later assigned her rights under the Franchise Agreement to the corporation Respondent. The Applicant refused to renew the Franchise Agreement, resulting in a dispute.  The Applicant commenced an Application in Ontario for a declaration that the Franchise Agreement had expired and for a mandatory order that the Respondents comply with their post-expiry obligations under the Franchise Agreement. The Respondents brought a motion to stay the Application on the basis that the Ontario Court did not have jurisdiction.   The Applicant argued that the dispute was presumptively … Read More